Author Barbara Kingsolver on What We Do Now

Trump changed everything. Now everything counts.

Barbara Kingsolver

If you’re among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you’ve probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix. But we can’t hole up for four years waiting for something that’s gone. We just woke up in another country.

It’s hard to guess much from Trump’s campaign promises but we know the goals of the legislators now taking charge, plus Trump’s VP and those he’s tapping to head our government agencies. Losses are coming at us in these areas: freedom of speech and the press; women’s reproductive rights; affordable healthcare; security for immigrants and Muslims; racial and LGBTQ civil rights; environmental protection; scientific research and education; international cooperation on limiting climate change; international cooperation on anything; any restraints on who may possess firearms; restraint on the upper-class wealth accumulation that’s gutting our middle class; limits on corporate influence over our laws. That’s the opening volley.

A well-documented majority of Americans want to keep all those things, and in some cases expand them. We now find ourselves seriously opposed to our government-elect. We went to bed as voters, and got up as outsiders to the program.

How uncomfortable. We crave to believe our country is still safe for mainstream folks like us and the things we hold dear. Our civic momentum is to trust the famous checks and balances and resist any notion of a new era that will require a new kind of response. Anti-Trump demonstrations have already brought out a parental tone in the media, and Michael Moore is still being labeled a demagogue. Many Democrats look askance at Keith Ellison, the sudden shooting star of the party’s leadership, as too different, too progressive and feisty. Even if we agree with these people in spirit, our herd instinct recoils from extreme tactics and unconventional leaders on the grounds that they’ll never muster.

That instinct is officially obsolete.

Wariness of extremism doesn’t seem to trouble anyone young enough to claim Lady Gaga as a folk hero. I’m mostly addressing my generation, the baby boomers. We may have cut our teeth on disrespect for the Man, but now we’ve counted on majority rule for so long we think it’s the air we breathe. In human decency we trust, so our duty is to go quietly when our team loses. It feels wrong to speak ill of the president. We’re not like the bigoted, vulgar bad sports who slandered Obama and spread birther conspiracies, oh, wait. Now we’re to honor a president who made a career of debasing the presidency?

We’re in new historical territory. A majority of American voters just cast our vote for a candidate who won’t take office. A supreme court seat meant to be filled by our elected president was denied us. Congressional districts are now gerrymandered so most of us are represented by the party we voted against. The FBI and Russia meddled with our election. Our president-elect has no tolerance for disagreement, and a stunningly effective propaganda apparatus. Now we get to send this outfit every dime of our taxes and watch it cement its power. It’s not going to slink away peacefully in the next election.

Many millions of horrified Americans are starting to grasp that we can’t politely stand by watching families, lands and liberties get slashed beyond repair. But it’s a stretch to identify ourselves as an angry opposition. We’re the types to write letters to Congress maybe, but can’t see how marching in the streets really changes anything. Strikes and work stoppages won us great deals historically, but now we think of them as chaotic outbursts that trouble foreign countries. Our disagreements are polite. Forget radical, even being labeled “political,” which is code for opposing the civic status quo, is a kind of castigation.

But politeness is no substitute for morality, and won’t save us in the end. We only get to decide who we are. As a writer and a person my bedrock is perennial hope for a better world than this one, and for that I’ve borne the radical brand, not by choice. As outlaws go I’m as boring as toast, a polite, southern female who’s never broken any law but the speed limit. Despite this gentility I’ve endured FBI investigations and personal threats, and once had to travel on book tour with a bodyguard. This was during Republican administrations that sounded infinitely friendlier to dissent than the one that’s now on deck. So you’ll forgive my weak faith in broad-shouldered American tolerance and the guaranteed free pass for good behavior.

I’ve come through terrible times and am writing this now on the strength of one long rescue: the solidarity of strangers. People who sent letters and messages, tearfully shook my hand or hugged me in the grocery store, always to say, “Thanks, you spoke up for me. I’m here for you.” A handwritten note or a hug in the grocery store can save a life. Standing in the streets with a huge crowd of fellow believers really does change something, not just through the message sent out, but also the one that’s absorbed.

So many of us have stood up for the marginalized, but never expected to be here ourselves. It happened to us overnight, not for anything we did wrong but for what we know is right. Our first task is to stop shaming ourselves and claim our agenda. It may feel rude, unprofessional and risky to break the habit of respecting our government; we never wanted to be enemies of the state. But when that animosity mounts against us, everything we do becomes political: speaking up or not speaking up. Either one will have difficult consequences. That’s the choice we get.

With due respect for the colored ribbons we’ve worn for various solidarities, our next step is to wear something on our sleeve that takes actual courage: our hearts.

I’ll go first. If we’re artists, writers, critics, publishers, directors or producers of film or television, we reckon honestly with our role in shaping the American psyche. We ask ourselves why so many people just couldn’t see a 69-year-old woman in our nation’s leading role, and why they might choose instead a hero who dispatches opponents with glib cruelty. We consider the alternatives. We join the time-honored tradition of artists resisting government oppression through our work.

If we’re journalists, we push back against every door that closes on freedom of information. We educate our public about objectivity, why it matters, and what it’s like to work under a president who aggressively threatens news outlets and reporters.

If we’re consumers of art, literature, film, TV and news, we think about what’s true, and what we need. We reward those who are taking risks to provide it.

If we’re teachers we explicitly help children of all kinds feel safe in our classrooms under a bullying season that’s already opened in my town and probably yours. Language used by a president may enter this conversation. We say wrong is wrong.

If we’re scientists we escalate our conversation about the dangers of suppressing science education and denying climate change. We shed our cautious traditions and explain what people should know. Why southern counties are burning now and Florida’s coastal cities are flooding, unspared by any vote-count for denial.

If we’re women suffering from sexual assault or body image disorders, or if we’re their friends, partners or therapists, we acknowledge that the predatory persona of men like Trump is genuinely traumatizing. That revulsion and rage are necessary responses.

If our Facebook friends post racial or sexist slurs or celebrate assaults on our rights, we don’t just delete them. We tell them why.

If we’re getting up in the morning, we bring our whole selves to work. We talk with co-workers and clients, including Trump supporters, about our common frustrations when we lose our safety nets, see friends deported, lose our clean air and water, and all the harm to follow. We connect cause and effect. This government will blame everyone but itself.

We refuse to disappear. We keep our commitments to fairness in front of the legislators who oppose us, lock arms with the ones who are with us, and in the words of Congressman John Lewis, prepare to get ourselves in some good trouble. Every soul willing to do that is part of our team, starting with the massive crowd that shows up in DC in January to show the new president what we stand for, and what we won’t.

There’s safety in numbers, but only if we count ourselves out loud.

 Article published in The Guardian (online)

Photo credit Annie Griffiths



Happy New Year!

early-spring-2016035Happy New Year from all of us at Orenda Healing International to all of you– wherever you may be!

We wish you a year filled with abundance of all that is joyful, beautiful, and peaceful.

May 2017 be our best year ever!  May we embrace curiosity and new learning on every level.  May we overcome each challenge with courage, determination, and persistence.  And may we meet fear and resistance with acceptance, understanding, and love.

Four Winds Journal’s End-of-Year Advertising Special!


Orenda Healing International is celebrating this holiday season with a gift for you.  Starting today, we’re offering 50% off of all advertising rates through December 31!

1/4/ page – $50 – now $25

1/2 page – $100 – now $50

Full page – $200 – now $100

Give your organization, practice, or product a jumpstart for the New Year.  Space is limited, so take advantage of this amazing offer today!

(Special rates apply through 12/31/2016.  Regular rates resume 1/1/2017.)

Healing with Spirit

img_3569While working on my doctorate, I focused on spiritual guidance as a semi-specialty.  (Shamanic work can hardly be called clinical psychology, after all!)

I soon learned that one could call oneself a “spiritual guide,” “spiritual counselor,” “chaplain,” or “minister.”  The word healer was never used, and juxtaposition of the words spiritual and medicine rarely occured, except in the context of hospital chaplaincy.

Yet in many indigenous cultures, medicine is the word used for whatever healing energy one can recognize.  (The expression “laughter is good medicine” illustrates a Western adaptation of this belief.)  Indigenous people acknowledge that Spirit is the real healer, not the man or woman doing the smudging, sand painting, chanting, dancing, or journeying.  Indeed, each of these practices is a message to Spirit asking for help for the person in need.  In my own practice, I have noticed that the only thing a “healer” can do to help her patient is facilitate that person’s reconnection with their own spiritual source.

Dr. Larry Dossey, MD, is one of the few medical physicians I know who openly acknowledges the truth of this indigenous belief and who, based upon his own clinical experience, has written several books on the power of prayer and the effect of a doctor’s intervention, not as a surgeon or other specialist, but as a spiritual guide and intercessor with Spirit on the patient’s behalf.

It’s fascinating to recall that not so long ago, the process of healing was composed of and dependent upon the interrelationship of what we currently call science, medicine, psychology, art, philosophy, and prayer.  These were all part of the same holistic package, which Western culture chose to separate into discrete disciplines.

Therefore, this interesting article on spiritual care in medicine,   shared by Cherry Hill Seminary’s Executive Director Holli Emore, came as a pleasant surprise.  It may be that Western culture, having exhausted the talents of “pure science,” is ready for a sea change– a return to the past in order to step more compassionately into a future that will benefit not merely humans but all beings on this planet.  One can only hope!

Time for Healing

healing-dayDear One, 

Whether you live in the USA or another part of the world, however you voted (or would have), you are likely feeling the impact of the recent election day in America. I am currently teaching in Israel and have certainly felt the deep emotional impact, not only personally but also collectively. I am still processing these challenging emotions, including pain, anger and fear. At times, I have even found myself trying to detach and push these difficult feelings away, while also realizing that they are collective and a deep part of our human history. In fact, these challenges have been here on the planet and embedded in humanity for a long, long time.

This current, collective experience is not just about one person or party or this moment in history. It is about many things, including the opportunity we have right now for individuals and humanity to come together, learning and healing our longstanding discord and misunderstandings, together. And while many fear the potential misuse and misapplication of power, it is important to remember that none of us is either powerless or without choice. Anything we can do from a place of love will bring more healing, and anything we do from a place of fear will bring the opposite of peace. I will say that again –anything we can do from a place of love will bring more healing, and anything we do from a place of fear will bring the opposite of peace.

To continue to build the chi field of hope and empowerment and courage and blessing, I invite you to join us this weekend, so that together we can practice transforming fear into love, starting with ourselves and starting right now. Sound Healing and other Wisdom Healing Qigong practices help us process our deep emotions and bring more healing to ourselves, each other, America and the entire world, definitively impacting our shared future. Please join us this weekend on Saturday for the Chi Center live stream from Israel, as well as on Sunday for the beautiful Day of Healing and Reconciliation sponsored by the Shift Network.

All the details and links are below. We encourage you to gather with friends and participate in the live stream events together. Feel free to share this email with your entire online community.

Thank you, from my heart to yours. May these events and more bring greater healing to our world, here and beyond.

Wishing you Deep Peace and Healing, Haola

Master Mingtong Gu

This Weekend’s Events:

Saturday, November 12th: 7:30-8:30 am MST (4:30-5:30 pm Israel Time)
Live Stream with Master Mingtong Gu: Sound Healing Practice from Israel

Sunday, November 13th: 1:00-3:00 pm MST
Day of Healing and Reconciliation, sponsored by Shift Network

Sunday, November 13th: 3:00-4:00 pm MST
Replay from Nov. 12th “Sound Healing Teaching &Practice”

Time Zone Converter


Please see the email below from Stephen Dinan, of the Shift Network:

Mingtong, I am going to speak to just Americans in this email, although this is truly a global moment. So much of our country is reeling, coming to grips with the election results. I have wept myself multiple times. In the coming days, the emotional storms will likely be strong, the fears deep, and the tensions high. Our democracy is in a perilous moment. If you were a Hillary supporter, please let whatever emotions you need to feel to pass through as quickly as you can.  Because we need you now. If you were a Trump supporter, please be gracious.  We need to feel that you understand our pain and our fears. We need your heart and generosity now. We want to better understand you and your concerns as well. If you voted for another candidate or didn’t vote, we need you now. It is time for all people of conscience to help with the profound, long-term work of healing our country, which is precariously close to rupturing. We have to heal collectively and find a way, somehow, to be united again. This country is going through titanic emotions  We have to help steady the ship, build bridges and hold our country together.  Let us spread love. The MOST important thing that I can see that can help us to do this is a massive Day of Healing and Reconciliation which we are producing for Sunday. Visit our website to see our current lineup of leaders that bridge left and right.  For this to have the maximum positive impact, we need to have tens of millions participating, taking actions, building community, being inspired by others. We need to scale up the professionalism and outreach of our broadcast event massively, and better organize the grassroots.  I intend to raise $100K today for outreach and major artists. We are working on landing Stevie Wonder and India Arie.   We have extended invitations to Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.  We have top Republicans and Democrats on board already.  Our 1.0 video has been seen by over 525,000 and is spreading rapidly. I am asking for your help in three ways: Spread the word: Shift Network Day of Healing.  Help sponsor the event by sending what you are able to Paypal at to fund outreach and impact Help activate events in every town in the country.  We want as many as possible in places of worship and will add living room organizing by Friday (feel free to do so on your own before the functionality is up). We have top notch speakers ready to speak We’ll be broadcasting from Unity of Washington DC on Facebook Live next Sunday, November 13, from 3-5 EST, 12-2 PST, followed by local programs. Mark your calendar and spread the word to every faith or spiritual leader you know to start a local event so we can really light up America and move forward. Finally, it is imperative to reach out and express love and solidarity with those who voted differently from you.  We simply must thaw the divides. Do what you need to do to work through your emotions and then we need you, in action, to help us ride out this storm and turn this into a transformational moment. Let us show what we are made of. Let us have a peaceful transfer of power and work together to create a brighter future. Love, Stephen PS – Please also share the video on Facebook, which already has 475,000 views:  Shift Network Day of Healing on Facebook . We hope you will join us. Haola.


November 13 FREE TICKET


Election Night Dream

debra-dreamDebra Carroll, recently published in the Fall 2016 issue of our Four Winds Journal, has shared this wonderful vision with us.

We All Want Peace And Prosperity…

What’s more, we know how to achieve it.

Peace starts within each of us.

True abundance arises from knowing we all are interconnected by boundless love and compassion.

Please join Debra Carroll in keeping a vigil on this perilous night.

She calls on all the merciful goddesses of every tradition to guide us in taking care of one another, the children of humankind, and Earth, who truly is our Mother, from whence we have emerged and evolved.

Help us to avoid a descent into fascism, which devalues human life.

Help us to realize we must pull together as a family, lending strength to each other to give up the nightmare of addiction to oil and other non-renewable technologies, by creative, loving means.  This addiction is destroying families, entire populations and landscapes in drilling, fracking and warfare.

We call on the feminine, nurturing spirit in all of us to help us find another dream.  May this dream be created

In Beauty.

Relax and Enjoy!

Longboat KeyOctober is 3 weeks old already!  The lovely Indian Summer afternoons are shorter and the nights grow colder.  In every way– climate change, America’s political turmoil, global unrest, even our own personal lives– the Winds of Change are blowing through us.  It’s a highly charged, intense time.

It’s also a perfect time to take a break from all this upheaval, to snuggle in with something good to read– and you won’t find a better choice than Four Winds Journal’s fascinating articles, inspiring poetry, and beautiful art work.

Check out Dr. Joshua Conzo’s introduction to the benefits of Functional Medicine, Amy Clark’s poetic trilogy “Book of Changes,” or Debra Carroll’s fascinating article on Shamanic Waking, Lucid Dreaming.  Dream of walking barefoot in white sand with Linda Hunsaker on Longboat Key,  or investigating Ken Hall’s Shaman’s Cave.  shamans-cave

And if you’d like more good reading or to be updated on ways to join us in creating positive local and global change, join our email list.  We’ll keep you in the loop!

#holistic medicine # naturepoetry  #dreamresearch  #lookseecreate  #shaman

Four Winds Journal Is Here!

Four Winds Journal Cover Prototypes (2)Orenda Healing International is excited to announce the launch of the inaugural issue of our Four Winds Journal – open access. Winds of Change are all around us and it is a fitting theme for this, our first issue. The healing that we experience ourselves and facilitate in others is fundamental to creating far-reaching and positive change. It is our hope that this journal, and the community it embodies, will act as a healing balm to the effects of our current social, environmental, and political climate on the world.  We invite you to explore art, fiction, poetry, and scholarly articles about practices and trends in various alternative healing traditions, and take a healing moment for yourself today.

South by South Lawn


Join President Obama and an all-star cast of innovative thinkers and activists on the South Lawn today– all day panels, music, conversations and more on how to help make life on our little planet more equitable, sustainable, and beneficial to all beings.

If we can imagine it, we can do it!